Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Baltonsborough Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated on 3/4/16

Thank you for selecting information on the Baltonsborough Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Somerset. The info and images below have been supplied by Aux researcher Chris Perry with assistance from Nina Hannaford, CART CIO for Devon.

Research into this patrol and its training is ongoing. The information below is published from various sources and is by no means conclusive. If information is not listed below it does not necessarily mean the information is not out there but normally means CART researchers have not found it yet.

If you have any information on this patrol or can help with research in this area please do contact us.

Baltonsborough is approximately 2 miles from Butleigh.

Formed in 1940 it is thought the Patrol was disbanded April 1941 to form the nearby Butleigh Patrol.

Alan Crick was one of the original Intelligence Officers that were sent out on reconnaissance. He surveyed Somerset and Dorset. Captain Ian Fenwick (Kings Royal Rifle Corps) was the first Intelligence Officer covering the county of Somerset along with the City of Bath. During his command he was billeted near Taunton with a HQ in Bridgewater. He went on to join the SAS and was killed in action in France in August 1944.

After 1941 a “grouping” system was developed where various patrols within a demographic area would regularly train together under more local command.

It is thought that Baltonsborough Patrol was disbanded around this time and Butleigh Patrol was formed to replace it.

The later Butleigh Patrol was part of Group 11 with Green Ore (Wells), Dinder and Ebbor Gorge under the Area Command of Captain Herbert Radford, a wine merchant from Axbridge and Group Command of Lt Edward A Harrison, a schoolmaster from Wells.

Sergeant Edwin “Ted” Gould of The Cross, Baltonsborough
William Leonard Charles “Bill” Dunkerton of Martin Street, Baltonsborough
Hugh Champion of Northfields, Baltonsborough.
Herbert J Whitehead of Martin Street, Baltonsborough
William Harding of Ham Street, Baltonsborough

HQ:
The headquarters were at Goodsomes Stables on the side of Prospect House, Martin Street, Baltonsborough. It is built of local blue lias stone and is still in good condition as it is part of and attached to Prospect House.

This was used by the regular local Home Guard and the early Auxiliary Units Patrol.
The Auxiliers stayed at the headquarters on “duty” but they did not patrol as the Home Guard did. This made the regular Home Guard wonder why they were separate and acting differently. The Patrol did not have an OB to use and were most likely disbanded before one was built.

Prospect House

Goodsomes stables, on the side of Prospect House.

Explosives Store:

The Patrol had an explosives store in a part of Park Wood, between Butleigh and Baltonsborough. Explosives were stored in a steel box, buried and covered with leaves and brush wood and hidden between the fir trees.
The charges were only to be placed on the local bridges when they were given the order to do so.

Park Wood from Wallyers bridge

The Auxiliers knew the location of the buried store by imagining a line from the second tree in, of the first row of trees, to the forth tree in, on the second row.

Then a second line from the third tree in, on the second row, to the third tree in, on the first row.
Where these lines crossed was where the steel box was buried.

In late 1940 the men talked of moving the explosives to an underground tunnel, which was an entrance to the reservoir behind Hillside House on Windmill Hill. They were never moved as it is on the opposite side of the village to the bridge and too far away from the intended targets. The tunnel was excavated after the war and it was empty.

Training Hut:

The training hut was used for lectures on explosives and demolition training by “Lt. Smith” from Street. It was known by the men that this was not his real name but it is presently unknown who he actually was, he only came to Baltonsborough in the early part of the war. It was considered by the Patrol at that time that he was in charge.

Owned by Sgt. Edwin Gould, the hut was also used for charging the batteries for electronic detonators. Its civilian use during WW2 was to charge batteries for radios.

The training hut was used as a wooden store for the Post Office and shop on Church Lane in 2005. Built of wood, with a concrete floor it was approximately 12 foot deep and 11 foot wide.

The hut has now gone and only the concrete base survives.

Training hut on Church Lane 2005

The patrol were told their target was to destroy Wallyer’s Bridge on the road between Butleigh and Baltonsborough when they were given the order to do so.

A unit of Royal Engineers made square holes in the structure to put the explosive charges under the bridge. The holes were still there up to around 1981. The final choice of the charge was Gelignite and an electronic fuse was to be used because of the river, other fuses probably would not work because of the water.

The fuse leads where to be laid from the bridge towards Baltonsborough when the order was given. The firing point was the first house on the left called “Noah's Ark” as the minimum distance was 2 fields away from the explosion for safety.

At one time they had a practice of a dummy firing with detonators only.

Wallyer's Bridge.

The Patrol were also taught to destroy TootleBridge near Barton St David, on the road between Baltonsborough and Barton St David. Both bridges are a single width, local stone built bridges over rivers.
Their other possible targets were to attack the enemy by booby traps or destroying vehicles.

Tootle Bridge.

Bill Dunkerton never went to Coleshill to train. All the training was carried out in the hut by “Lt Smith”.

Currently unknown but it is thought they may have had access to the standard arms and equipment though they may have been disbanded before all was available to them. Bill Dunkerton remembered 12 bore shotgun, Colt 45, and various rifles.

It is known that this Patrol was operational in 1940 and into early 1941.

None of the men from this Patrol are listed on the nominal rolls thought to be complied in 1942. It is thought that as the member numbers became fewer, due to Auxiliers joining the Armed Forces, the Patrol could have been considered not viable and so succeeded by the nearby Butleigh Patrol.
Butleigh was closer to more strategic targets and had more suitable land to conceal an OB. An altogether more advisable area to have a Patrol based.

OS New Popular Edition 1945 sheet 165.

Circled is the Bomb store in Park Wood.

This map also shows the proximity to the village of Butleigh with the later Patrol. Their OB being near the circled “Cedar Walk” .

Lt Edward Harrison was a geography teacher and assistant Headmaster at Wells Cathedral School and seems to have recruited quite a few ex-pupils into the Patrols under his command.

The Patrols of Group 11 under Lt. Harrison: Dinder Patrol, Green Ore (Wells) Patrol, Ebbor Patrol and Butleigh Patrol met at The Bekynton Cafe in Wells on Friday 15th December 1945 for a reunion meal. Herbert Whitehead and William Harding both attended and are recorded as “former members”.

The men enjoyed steamed cod and parsley sauce with peas and Brussels sprouts. Pudding was damson pie and custard and they were each presented with a letter of thanks from the Commander in Chief Home Forces, General Sir Harold Franklyn.

Sergeant “Ted” Gould was a WW1 veteran as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery. He was a prisoner of war in Germany from March to December 1918. He worked as a local newsagent and bicycle and radio shop owner and died in April 1949. Records show he ended up as a Corporal in the Home Guard. He would ride a motor bike around the area collecting accumulators for recharging and leaving charged ones.

Hugh Champion was a small holder and replaced Bill Dunkerton when he left. He was also a WW1 veteran. Records show he became the Home Guard Sergeant.

Herbert J Whitehead worked as a bicycle dealer. Records show he was “transferred to Aux Unit 4- 4- 41” as was William Harding who was a plumber. This could be them moving from Baltonsborough Patrol to join the newly formed Butleigh Patrol. They left before stand down and are not on the 1942 nominal roll.

Bill Dunkerton became a farmer on his Dad’s farm after leaving Elmhurst School in Street. He joined the Baltonsborough Local Defence Volunteers when it was formed in May 1940. When he was in the Home Guard there was an invasion scare. They went up Reservoir Hill (Windmill Hill) which is behind Hillside House, Ham Street. They where there on guard duty and look out as this is the highest point for all-round observation in the village. Bill was armed with his father’s 12 bore shotgun and a .410 revolver.

Bill passed his RAF exam at Elmhurst School and he joined the RAF as a wireless operator. He was called up during Easter 1940 and went to RAF Carditon.

He was there for 3 days but was sent home on full pay, his service deferred for 6 months as he was under age.
Recruited by Sgt. Gould, William Leonard Dunkerton subsequently joined the Auxiliary units before finally being called up and serving with the RAF. Leaving the Patrol on Boxing Day 1940 aged 17 ½.

He started his training at RAF Cranwell on different types of radio and radar.

Later he joined RAF Coastal Command and was in different Squadrons such as 53 Squadron working with Hudsons and 232 Squadron on Sunderlands and later Catalinas. He help set up anti-submarine radar in the UK and the Bay of Biscay.

Bill eventually went to Burma serving with 5575 Mobile Signals Unit, part of HQ Signals 5 - area flying control. He was in Rangoon seeing the final surrender and the end of the war. Bill came home in 1946 having served 6 years and 6 months, 6 months deferred.

On his return Bill's father told him there was money to be made in milk and cider, as beer was still rationed. Bill decided to have a go at both and put his savings into buying a tractor for £303.10s. He worked the farm and delivered milk for 40 years.

Bill had a apple named after him: “The Dunkerton Late Sweet” which was planted from a pip during the war.

He was also in the 6th Somerset Cadre, the Home Guard unit formed for the Cold War between 1952 and 1957 as a rank of Sergeant. Then their HQ was at Glastonbury.

William “Bill” Dunkerton died 2007.

The late Mr Bill Dunkerton
Donald Brown Research for “Somerset vs Hitler
Ancestry.co.uk
Kelly’s directories
“The Somerset Home Guard, a Pictorial Roll Call”, by Jeffrey Wilson and the update
Central Somerset Gazette.
The owners of the village shop who let me take the photos of the training hut.
Newspapers and 1939 Register on Findmypast

If you can help with any info please contact us.